The pairs short program consists of the following eight required elements. The elements may be skated in any order to music of the skater's choice. Vocal music (i.e., music with lyrics) is not permitted.
This lift must have a hand-to-hand lasso take-off. For the top teams the overhead lift will include changes of position in the air and/or one arm positions in the air. Some teams include set-downs in the form of a flip-out, twist-out or a one arm set-down.
Double Twist Lift
A double or triple throw is required. The simplest throw one expects to see at the senior level is throw double Axel. The top teams will typically attempt a throw triple loop or a throw triple Salchow. Also seen is throw triple toe loop.
This must be a double jump with a triple or quadruple jump, or a triple jump with a triple or quadruple jump. There must be no step or change of edge between the two jumps. This element is the big gun for the men's short program and most of the top men are attempting a quadruple jump with a double or triple jump, typically a quad toe loop with a triple toe loop or double toe loop, or a quad Salchow with a triple toe loop or double toe loop. If the man does not have a quad combination then the next level of difficulty down is a triple Axel with triple toe loop or triple Lutz with triple toe loop, and below that a triple with double..
This is a side-by-side double or triple jump. The top teams typically attempt side-by-side triple toe loops. This is probably the most difficult of the elements to judge. The farther apart the skaters are from each other and the closer they are to the viewer, the more difficult it is to keep track of what both skaters have done - best to look between the two skaters and try to view them as a group.
The combination spin is a side-by-side combination spin executed by the two skaters in unison. It must have only one change of foot and at least changes of position. A minimum of five rotations on each foot is required. In other words, the skaters can only change foot once, but can change position as often as desired. This spin can commence with a jump and the change in foot can also be in the form of a hop or a jump.
Pair Spin Combination
The pair spin must have only one change of foot and at least changes of position. In other words, the skaters can only change foot once, but can change position as often as desired. A minimum of eight rotations in total is required, with no requirement for the number of rotations on each foot. The two skaters must change foot at the same time but may change position at different times. For the top teams this spin will typically consist of at least two positions on one foot and one position on the other.
The required death spiral this season is the backwards inside. This death spiral can be executed with the woman in a chest up or chest down position. Most teams use the chest up position which is more difficult that the down position.
The pattern must be straight line, circular/oval, or serpentine with the two skaters executing the same or mirrored steps in unison. The straight line pattern must go end-to-end or corner-to-corner (diagonal). The pattern cannot be a mix of the three choices; for example, patterns consisting of half a circle followed by a straight section, or a straight line sequence with a dog-leg at the end would receive deductions. The pattern must utilize the full ice surface. The sequence should include steps and movements that turn both clockwise and counterclockwise. This is not a requirement, but a step sequence with movements in only one direction (of rotation) indicates a weakness in the skills of the skaters.
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Copyright 2002 by George S. Rossano